Here is a very good article by Gaurav Jain in WSJ about a small computer animation team in in Uruguay who made a small animation film which eventually won them a contract from Hollywood studio for $30 Million. Gaurav himself is a head of an animation company based in Mumbai and his observation and perspective about the subject naturally gives him authority:
Unfortunately, India continues to struggle in this regard. The Indian film industry is notoriously difficult to break into for outsiders and aspirants have to fight a strong current of nepotism. Over the last decade, established film makers have begun to offer newer talent the opportunity to create films but there is still a long way to go until it becomes a meritocracy.
In addition, Indian artists suffer from a general lack of self esteem regarding their skills. Very few ever bother to go beyond the call of duty and create anything that stems from personal effort and vision. Most artists treat their jobs as a 9 to 5 ordeal, necessary for survival. When they leave the studio they switch off.
Although I don't know much about animation industry, I have over the years seen similar traits in software industry.
Don't take me wrong. India (and Indians) have great skills, tremendous zeal and knowledge about software and its nitty-gritty. India, no doubt, deserves the success it has achieved over the last two decades in IT. But, for many of engineers and talent workers in Indian IT industry, money or monetary awards generally associated with the software / technology industry still have been a primary motivation factor.
Just over 18-20 years ago, prior to 1990-92 (when Infosys was just over few million dollars company, or Lou Grestner hadn't become IBM CEO yet), I saw many of my friends and colleagues who entered software industry because of pure quest for intellectual challenges and sense of becoming part of 'changing the world' mindset. Apple, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Microsoft were the magic words of discussions on campus and in office. Barrier to entry was low because there were not many people in that industry. Many colleges still didn't have IT or computers as one of the main offerings. Dataquest and India Express were the primary (and probably only) publications in India for IT then. Codd Yordon and Boch were read religiously. And, almost all of these techies who came to IT around then - DID routinely work more than 12-15 hours a day and even on weekends and were very happy about it.
There is no surprise then, that most of the techies who entered the filed during those days are either successful US, UK... or, currently in mid and high management positions in India leading India's revolution. And, I can say that just like many other globalization flattners for India, these techies, their dedication and work ethics provided a key strength and readiness for India to flourish as a global IT powerhouse.
Coming back to Jain's story - just over a year ago I was in a project team meeting in India. It was a marathon meeting focused on discussing some key project challenges and issues. During the lunch while we were talking about other, non-work things, I happened to mention Steve Jobs and his legendary focus to perfection. I received NO feedback from the team! When I asked them if they knew about Steve Jobs - in the team of 15+ engineers working on a cutting edge project for a US client - NO ONE knew Steve Jobs!
Is this what the Jain implies? Are the IT professionals in India (and probably many other emerging countries) are too focused on playing the game for survival that they are not enjoying the game? What Jain says that Most artists [in India] treat their jobs as a 9 to 5 ordeal, necessary for survival. When they leave the studio they switch off; is it also true for IT professionals [in India]? Do most IT professionals [in India] treat their jobs as a 9 to 9 ordeal, necessary for survival and when they leave the office they switch off?